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[GreenYes] Re: Outlet markets for glass, milk cartons, aseptic

Doug, you may want to look at the Glass packaging Institute's recycling
web page at for answers to some of your
glass questions. At the recent National Recycling Congress I spoke with
an offical of one of the major recycling industries who tolkd me htat
infrared sorting of glass can separate it by color fast enough to make
this separation and subsequent recycling into glass containers
economically feasible but the infrared sorting equipment is exppensive.
If the glass can't be sorted it has a number of one time uses. See
EPA's Recyclig measurement guide at to
see what we count as recycling my rerading of tthat document is that
glass used in industrial applications does count as recycling.
Also see

Here's a file I have on milk carton recycling:

** Here's a link to some info on milk carton recycling that may help .

Recycling School Cartons:
1. Over the years, School Carton Recycling has proven to be
challenging. Most schools have not been able to get the school cartons
empty and dry enough so that the valuable paper fiber in the cartons is
preserved and still suitable for a mill to buy. It requires on-going
training not only for the children, but also for the custodial staff.
It also requires diligent monitoring at each lunch period to make sure
that the children are emptying out their cartons and that they are not
throwing unwanted items in with the cartons.
Despite these challenges, there are successful school programs that
have been recycling cartons for years. For those of you who feel like
you have the right stuff to conduct a successful school carton
recycling program, please see listed below two wonderful individuals
who have started and sustained successful school carton recycling
programs for years! Their e-mail addresses are listed below, and you
may contact them for pointers. We also have information on a rack
drying system that has worked well in schools to get cartons empty and
dry. We strongly suggest that you use this method to insure a more
successful carton recycling program. (Please click on Rack Drying
Method For School Cartons to download the document) We have also
included a comprehensive School Recycling Guide and Curriculum that you
can click on.
Should you have any questions about setting up a milk carton and juice
box recycling program, please e-mail one of the following individuals
or visit their web site:

Composting School Cartons:
1. For those of you who are feeling that school carton recycling may
not be quite right for your school, we have some exciting news about
school carton composting and not just composting cartons, but cafeteria
food waste as well.
In the spring of 1997, an innovative program was initiated by the Los
Angeles Unified School District. It's goal? To test the feasibility of
turning school milk cartons into rich, top-quality compost. Working
with their waste hauler, The District has composted over 200 tons of
milk cartons.
Compost is the product of a natural process that breaks down green
waste (leaves, twigs, grasses, etc.) and other organic materials into a
beneficial soil amendment. Cartons are a perfect addition to the
compost mix. Approximately 85% of the carton is paper -- an organic
material. The remainder of the carton is polyethylene plastic. While
plastic does not decompose, during the composting process it is reduced
to very fine particles, which assists in keeping the compost loose.
Composting milk and juice cartons is easy! Students are not required to
drain and dry the cartons. In fact, depending on the program, cafeteria
food wastes and other organics might also be included in the compost.
A successful composting program requires a cooperative partnership
between the students, the District, the recycling/waste hauler, and the
composter. To assist school districts in developing this partnership,
we have developed a "How-To" guide that you can click on and download.

You might want to check out the following resources:

1. Food Waste Diversion in Schools: Final Report,

2. Report on the CIWMB School District Diversion Project,

Kimya Lambert Buy Recycled Section
California Integrated Waste Management Board
State of California
David Lupinski, Director of Recycling, Located in New York State
Eileen Stamp, Recycling Educator, Located in the state of Oregon
Recycling Resources:
Comprehensive School Recycling Guide
School Carton Recycling Curriculum
Rack Drying Method for School Cartons
Papermaking from Cartons
Waste Wise (A Resource Guide for Teachers) by e-mail request

and finally here's a file I have on aseptic packaging recycling:

Links on aseptic packaging:

Main web page for aseptic packaging council:
Link to sites where aseptic packages can be recycled:

From: EarthGB@no.address [mailto:EarthGB@no.address]
Sent: Friday, May 27, 2005 9:22 AM
To: koplow@no.address; gary@no.address; greenyes@no.address
Subject: Re: [BBAN]: [greenyes] Aseptic container background

Some history on the aseptic package:

The aseptic container, or drink box, actually was banned in 1 New
England state, I think Maine, in the late 1980's. This was around the
same time as the foamed polystyrene bans were passed in various parts
of the US. At that time, the Mobro garbage barge, global warming, hole
in the ozone layer, medical wastes washing up on beaches, and solid
waste and environmental problems in general combined to create high
levels of public awareness and a different climate leading to activism
and lots of legislation.

The makers of aseptic packages joined forces and formed the Aseptic
Packaging Council, which I think is now defunct. However, for about 5
years, maybe longer, they implemented quite good recycling programs for
drink boxes and
polycoated milk cartons, primarily in the schools. They included milk
cartons in the program, even though they weren't the manufacturers, in
order to get the critical mass of materials for cost-effective
recycling. Polycoat milk carton manufacturers didn't contribute a
penny to this effort, though they benefited from the PR.

At the time, I had the opportunity to learn more about the history of
the aseptic package. The concept was originated (if I remember right)
by the wife of the founder of TetraPak in Sweden. This was immediately
after World War II, at a time when there were severe food shortages in
Europe, made worse by the damaged transportation and distribution
infrastructure. When food supplies did get to places where they were
needed, the lack of refrigeration meant that many urgently needed
foodstuffs spoiled before they could be used.

The "tetrapak" was designed to be filled and sealed under aseptic
(ultra sanitary) conditions, with flash heating, flash cooling, and
filling of sterile containers in a sterile environment so that the
products in them would have a long shelf life without refrigeration.
The layers of paper, aluminum foil, and polyethylene film provided
barrier properties to help preserve the foodstuffs, primarily milk and
other liquid products.

This is still how the packages are made & filled. Another advantage of
this, besides energy saving, is that no preservatives or additives need
to be put in the food contents. Aseptics are widely used in Europe for
dairy products, soups, sauces, etc, & I've noticed their use in the US
has expanded into some of the same applications.

While the Aseptic Packaging Council's recycling programs were underway,
they made much progress getting some paper mills with pulping
capabilities to hydro-pulp the used packages (drink boxes and milk
cartons) and recover the long fiber bleached sulphate paper, a prime
material with very good demand & markets. As I recall, there were even
some interesting breakthroughs, like getting National Geographic
Magazine to agree to use the recovered fiber.

The paper portion was about 2/3 or 3/4 of the bulk of the packages.
The residue of film and foil was the only part not recovered, though it
was effectively separated from the paper via hydro-pulping, then
landfilled, as I recall.

The APC (Aseptic Packaging Council) funded a fairly good recovery
network in about half the US states with the largest population
concentrations. They had excellent education materials/programs and
recycling coordinators strategically positioned to help shepherd
recovery. It was an impressive program, especially considering that
just 2 companies--TetraPak and Combiblock--picked up the entire tab.

The program wasn't perfect. There were logistics problems, and MRFs
had trouble handling/baling the messy containers because of liquid
residues of milk & juice. To APC's credit, however, much R&D effort
and equipment development was done to address these issues. Research
was also done on technologies to separate the aluminum foil from the PE
film in the hydro-pulping residue. All this happened in the early 90's.

No solution was found at that time, but it appears--from the Alcoa
announcement--that the problem is being revisited. Given the oil and
energy situations now, it makes good sense to try to reclaim the
plastic film and Al foil. Shipping savings also are very important
today. On strength to weight ratio aseptics beat all other package
forms hands-down. This was confirmed by a Tellus Institute study in
the early 90's.

While I don't personally advocate the proliferation of hard-to-recycle
packages, I did learn that there are other sides to the aseptic package
story. Being able to deliver product without preservatives and
additives, and with higher nutrition retention than, say, canning,
definitely appealed to me. Also, as a former CA resident, I
appreciated being able to include aseptic packaged foodstuffs in my
earthquake preparedness kit.

As for the ban on this package in Maine, it was eventually repealed
(approx mid-90's), in large part due to the impressive recycling
efforts of APC. However, I think that nationally organized drink box
and milk carton Recycling gradually tapered off after this.

If Alcoa's initiative will breathe new life into aseptic recycling, I
think it could be a very good thing. Let's hope we see continued
progress from them, and not simply a flash in the pan for PR reasons.

Gretchen Brewer
NM Environment Dept, Solid Waste Bureau
Santa Fe, NM

Go to and click on Beverage Carton Recycling
Programs the 8th item from the top on the menu on the left side and you

will pull up a US map in which you can click on individual States to
out where in that State you can recycle aseptic packaging. There is
some intersting information if you click on Recycling and Aseptic
Packaging on the same left side menu.

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